A newly developed polymer protects the integrity of frozen cells, which could help ensure their quality for use in drug discovery and cell-based therapies, researchers reported June 20 in Biomacromolecules. Freezing cells for storage and distribution currently requires copious amounts of solvent—cellular antifreeze—but the more solvent used, the fewer the cells that can be later recovered. The new polymeric cryoprotectant shields cells from cold stress with significantly less solvent, especially when applied to cells grown on a surface.
“The simplicity of our approach will hopefully help us translate this to real applications quickly, and make an impact in healthcare and basic research,” says coauthor Matthew Gibson, a biochemist at the University of Warwick, in an announcement.
T. Bailey et al., “Synthetically scalable poly(ampholyte) which dramatically enhances cellular cryopreservation,” doi:10.1021/acs.biomac.9b00681, Biomacromolecules, 2019.
Nicoletta Lanese is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at email@example.com.